Prospect VS Lead- whom to target with email campaigns?

email marketing campaign

Email marketing is considered one of the best digital marketing strategies to reach out to your leads and turn them into your potential customers. An email sent to your lead, prospect, or an existing customer for updates, promotions, and discounts can be considered email marketing, email campaigns, or email marketing campaign. An email campaign allows you to make faster conversions, as you directly communicate with your leads and prospects through messages that drop to their inbox and are read at a convenient time. This makes emails more personalized than other campaigns.

However, before we move on, let us understand who are prospects and leads, and the differences between them. Though the terms are intertwined and used interchangeably, a sales rep needs to know the difference between them for a more effective sales strategy and execution. Misinterpretation of the two terms can lead to poor or low sales.

Who is a lead?

Before you begin your business, you introduce your product or service to strangers based on your ideal customer profile. A lead is a contact at the top of the sales funnel, yet to be qualified. A lead is one who has shown interest in your service/product, either directly or indirectly, but you might not have received any reply from them. However, they have the potential to turn into your ideal customer though communication with them is just one-way, and a relationship isn’t initiated.

Fun fact- Did you know that today’s sales process took 22% longer than the process five years ago?

Who is a prospect?

A prospect is someone who has shown interest in your product/service by replying to your email. They might have reached out to you or visited your website by clicking on the links you shared. Prospects are much below in the sales funnel than leads, and it is easy to convert them into customers. A prospect is qualified as an ideal buyer persona of a company. In other words, it is the final step before the actual sale.

Fun fact-92% of sales pros give up after the 4th call, but 80% of prospects say ‘NO’ four times before saying yes!

Diagram of the sales funnel (infographic)

  1. Stranger- Doesn’t know about your brand/product/service
  2. Lead- You reach out to the strangers based on your ICPs
  3. Prospect- When leads respond to your promotional content
  4. Customer- has paid for your product/service.
  5. Fan- Leaves positive reviews, recommends it to others, or repurchases from you

Content under the image- It starts from tracking a person and moving them through the sales funnel – from lead to prospect to conversions!

It’s essential to engage with your prospects and leads- first, to convert your leads into prospects and then your prospects into customers. Though we’re talking about conversion, you must understand that the same interaction model doesn’t work for both these groups! When it comes to smart email marketing in 2021, you must use different methods and strategies to communicate.

Let us have a look at the contents we will be going through.

  • Types of email marketing campaigns
  • Whom to target with emails – Leads, Prospects, or both?
  • Email marketing services

You might enjoy reading this glossary on 130 terms that you should know about email marketing.

The types of email marketing campaigns –

You must be wondering how to put your emails into effective usage, or you might be confused as to what type of email you could send and to whom. Apart from the simple emails you send, you can focus on boosting your business by segmenting your emails based on demographics, geography, and many more filters to make a more personalized approach.

Let’s dive into what we had to know! Below, we are listing down different types of emails and whom you can target using them.

Welcome emails YES YES
Email newsletters YES YES
Dedicated emails NO YES
Lead nurturing emails NO YES
Product update emails YES NO
Event invitation YES YES
Co-marketing emails YES MAYBE
Notification emails YES YES
Thankyou emails YES NO
Sponsorship emails YES YES
Transactional/ Confirmation emails NO NO
Re-engagement emails YES YES
Internal update emails YES YES
  1. Welcome emails

Welcome emails are a vital part of any email marketing campaign. They are a great way to introduce and create a good impression with your leads or prospects rather than directly pitching sales!

Many salespeople take a wrong turn when they urge the leads or prospects to buy the product or service without valid convincing or reasoning. It is a NO-NO that can hamper the impression of your brand.

Welcome mails boost your metrics as you are likely to have more click-through rates for them. Most people tend to open welcome emails, and therefore it’s pretty easy to convey or impress your targets with it, giving you an advantage of onboarding them onto your sales funnel.

Did you know that users who receive a welcome email show 33% more engagement with the brand?

Whom can you target with welcome emails? Both.

As long as you concentrate on making a good impression, welcome emails work for both parties. Since prospects have already shown interest in your services, you may introduce personalized discounts, coupons, and welcome offers to convert them into paid customers.

Note- You are free to send as many welcome emails as you wish, but keep in mind that it should be relevant to them and not spam them!

  1. Email newsletters

An email newsletter is the best way to create awareness about your brand, raise interest, talk about upcoming projects and updates, and offer similar engaging content significant for your business. The best email newsletters focus on the product and the advantages of choosing the same.

It is easier for salespeople to strike their target’s mind regarding their brand, product, or service through this medium. An email newsletter can be elaborate, if not mandatorily detailed. As a marketer, you must know to express what you want to say with good content and design placements.

You can have a combination of contents about your services, the products you offer, benefits, upcoming projects, your organization’s vision, blogs, and even promotional offers and discounts for your consumer. Since it’s elaborate, you must make sure it is relevant and has some of the most important messages you want to convey.

Whom can you target with email newsletters? Both.

An email newsletter plays a vital role for both leads and prospects. Though it is a one-way communication with leads, an email newsletter makes it easier to convey your business’s purpose. With prospects, it is an opportunity to let them know more about your products/services.

  1. Dedicated emails

The purpose of dedicated emails is singular. You can use them to notify your leads, prospects, or customer about transactions, product updates, or order status.

They are used more for information and branding than marketing, but they tend to convert a prospect into a buyer. Dedicated emails can be in the form of a whitepaper, an E-book, or an event notification that you are hosting.

Whom can you target with dedicated emails? Both, but more effective for leads.

Dedicated emails usually contain direct call-to-action buttons or links to a landing page, which the marketer can leverage to convert a lead into a prospect. They are more informational and designed to have a long digital life. They typically remain in the user’s inbox for a long time and can be re-read and forwarded.

  1. Lead nurturing emails

As the name suggests, lead nurturing emails are conceptualized exclusively to nurture the leads and convert them into prospects. These emails have a highly attractive, aesthetic, and user-friendly design, which is sent with the motive to move leads from the consideration stage to the decision stage of the sales funnel. These emails highlight the best features of the product or the service.

Here’s a fun fact-

Lead nurturing emails get a 4:10 times higher response rate.

Note- Lead nurturing emails are usually a complete campaign, which may comprise six-seven emails. They include welcome emails, promotional emails, subscription emails, and many more.

  1. Product update emails

Product update emails inform your targets about new updates to get them excited about the same. Your product update emails can inform your audience about something new that you might have added to your app, changes in membership plans, or telling them about any changes introduced in your brand/service/product.

You can use product update emails as a tool to help current customers complete a milestone or improve the customer retention rate.

Whom can you target with product update emails? Prospects.

Since prospects already divulge their interest to you, you can share product update emails to introduce customer-friendly changes, reassure them about their choice or inform them that you are going any mile to have them on board.

Note- Please note that too many product update emails may confuse the reader to keep a tab on the changes. It might come off as dull and irrelevant and can lead to spamming.

Here are some interesting samples for product update emails from Really Good Emails that you might want to check out.

  1. Event invitation

An event invitation email is integral for event marketing. Even though there are multiple social media platforms to create events and send invites, sending personalized emails to the attendees and requesting their RSVPs is still considered one of the most professional and best ways to go about it. It increases the event’s attendance and acts as a trust factor between the organizer and the attendee. With event email marketing, you will be able to mass promote your event or schedule the time to increase the email’s open rates.

Event invitation emails create a personalized experience. It also helps organizers to follow-up with your event attendees to thank them or ask for feedback.

Whom can you target with email invitations? Both.

In the case of leads, event invitation emails can be a more prominent lead nurturing campaign. On the other hand, you can use event invitations to convince prospects about the product or service and bring them into the sales funnel since they already have divulged their interest.

Here’s a fact that might interest you-

Run/walk/ride fundraising events that use email raise 76% more than those who do not.

  1. Co-marketing emails

Co-marketing emails are partnerships between two or more brands that allow companies to promote a piece of information or offer their shared audience. These emails are a great way to increase subscribers, build audiences, increase conversions, and drive overall revenue. When done right, co-marketing emails can be a brilliant tool to generate qualified leads. Many premium brands like BMW, Louis Vuitton, H&M, Luxury Fashion Designers, NBA, Beats, and many others have successfully co-branded marketing campaigns for branding and sales.

Whom to target with co-marketing emails? Prospects.

The prospects who have already expressed interest in your brand have high chances of converting into a paid customer if associated with other brands. Co-marketing also increases brand visibility for the less known of the two brands, helping it boost sales eventually.

Note- While strategizing co-marketing campaigns, go for an offer that will benefit both you and your partner. Ensure that the whole campaign is mutually beneficial and leaves you with enough rewards after completion.

  1. Notification emails

Similar to push notifications, email notifications are real-time update emails that can be triggered to give users meaningful information and keep them engaged with your company. Email notifications are an integral part of product strategy and development. When you convey essential information to a prospective audience through a notification email, it drives customer activity in your website or app, leading to a more nurtured customer relationship. Notification emails keep your company on top of your audience’s mind, increasing customer retention.

Whom to target with co-marketing notification emails? Both.

Both leads and prospects can equally benefit from notification emails; however, the messages’ content must differ. You can notify your prospects about upcoming events such as sales, updates, or any other changes in the product or service they have shown interest in. On the other hand, it is best to notify leads about sales, promotional offers, discounts, or any additional customer-centric information that will benefit them.

Note – You can build a completely custom-designed opt-in email database of your leads to ensure that the notification or any other emails do not get spammed by receivers who do not want to see your content. If you’re going to reach out only to contacts who wish to receive promotional content from your end, ensure that you approach the proper data service provider who facilitates an opt-in process while collecting their database.

  1. Thankyou emails

Thank you, emails can be of different types. These are ones that you write to interviewers after an interview, customers after successful delivery, or as a response to a review or feedback. Except for the first category of the thank you emails, all the others serve as an excellent medium to establish you as a customer-centric and genuine brand, enhancing customer relationships in the long run. Thank you emails plays with the ‘vanity’ factor of your customers, making them feel important, encouraging them to come back for more.

Whom to target with co-marketing notification emails? Prospects.

Though they mostly depict the end of a journey, you can send them to prospects after they have subscribed to your newsletter or filled up a form to show their interest.

  1. Sponsorship emails

Sponsorship emails are primarily sent to potential sponsors, whom you’re likely to address using the following email types-

  1. A) The introduction (or ‘cold’ email)
  2. B) The meeting requests
  3. C) The follow up (or ‘warm’ email)

Whom to target with sponsorship emails? Both.

Each email has its tone and structure, and you can forward them to both leads and prospects. You can either check if your leads are interested in sponsoring or update them about existing sponsorships for your brand/service. In the case of prospects, you can request them for sponsorships.

Note – Don’t ask for a sponsorship immediately. First, initiate a conversation and keep yourself updated about their social media handles. Building a rapport sets the tone between two parties and develops trust. Promote your sponsors while sending dedicated emails to attendees. Doing this will make your sponsors happy and also keep your target in the awareness loop.

  1. Transactional/ Confirmation emails

Transactional or transaction confirmation emails contain transaction information a recipient might want or need for future reference. They have high open rates and also the most extended digital life. Transactional emails signify the end of a customer’s journey and are a great way to build customer trust. These emails work as an acknowledgment of receiving payment and are increasingly used instead of physical receipts.

Confirmation emails include account creation, password resets, account notifications, and social media updates like friends and follower notifications.

Whom to target with transaction confirmation emails?

You cannot target both leads and prospects in transactional/confirmation emails because this type of email applies to conversions(those who have crossed both stages and purchased the product) only.

  1. Re-engagement emails

Re-engagement emails, also known as reactivation emails or win-back email campaigns, are a series of emails sent to subscribers who are inactive or have not participated in your posts and emails for more than six months. They may either be one-time buyers or stale leads. A re-engagement email aims to get people to interact with your emails and lead to sales eventually.

Whom to target with re-engagement emails? Both.

Prospects and leads – both have one thing in common – they haven’t purchased anything from you. The reasons could differ for every individual, and it is always a good thing to re-engage these audiences. Giving offers, sending updates, notifying about new products/services, or talking about partnerships are a few ways to re-engage your audience.

Note – Did you know that turning an inactive subscriber into a customer is five times cheaper than acquiring a brand-new customer? 
 While most people think sending too many re-engaging emails might look desperate and clingy, the reality is just the opposite! Constantly personalize your subject lines with the receiver’s name. It makes them feel valued. Here are the ten best examples of re-engagement emails that you might want to check out.

  1. Internal update emails

You can use internal business emails to communicate almost any type of information. Internal update emails can be in the form of a newsletter, notification emails, company policy change emails, announcements, meeting requests, status updates, appreciation, and many more.

Whom to target with internal update emails? Both.

Internal update emails are usually for the internal purpose of the company. However, depending upon the content, you can use it to target either leads or prospects.  The audience is encouraged to know customer-centric update information like change in application, website, company policy, blogs, newsletters, and so on.

We hope you found this information helpful. Don’t forget to implement these insights to prospect more leads in the coming months. Share your thoughts with us!


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Written by Abhishek Chauhan

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